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Steps to Buy a House: A Guide for First-Time Home Buyers

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Tags: Home Buying & Selling, First Time Home Buying

Buying a home doesn't have to be as stressful as everyone makes it sound. Between your parents, friends, uncles, baristas, and everyone else in-between giving you advice from their experience, who do you listen to? Luckily our comprehensive guide cuts through the noise and jargon so you can shop with confidence.

Check Your Credit Score

A good credit score will be very helpful in ensuring that you can secure a good loan. Your credit score is based on numerous things, such as how much credit you have available, how much credit card debt you currently have, and if there is any record of late payments on your credit report. 

While it is possible to secure a loan with a less than favorable credit score, you’ll have much better chances (and also get a better mortgage rate) if the score is high. So you might want to take some time to improve your score by doing things such as paying down debt before seeking to purchase a home.

Related: How to Improve Your Credit Score and Buy a House

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Get Your Down Payment Ready

The next thing you should have ready before seeking to purchase a new home is your down payment. Most people assume that your down payment should ideally be 20% of the home’s price, but that is not always the case. 

If you were attempting to get another type of mortgage, such as an FHA loan or a USDA loan, it is possible that you would only be required to have a down payment of anywhere from 0% to 10%.

Keep in mind that the 20% is ideal for a regular 30-year mortgage loan. You can actually go as low as 3% in some cases. However, it is also possible that you would incur additional fees if you have less than 20%, so you will want to do your research and be sure to ask the mortgage lender plenty of questions about your different loan options. (Luckily, Wyndham charges way less in fees than the average lender).

Which brings us to the next step for first time home buyers during the home buying process…

Get a Mortgage Pre-approval

Mortgage can be complicated but getting a pre-approval is an important first time home buyer step to take because it accomplishes two things: It gives you a good idea of how much house you can really afford, and it lets sellers know that you are serious about purchasing a new home.

During this part of the home buying process, a mortgage lender will look at your credit score and finances and check your debt to income ratio. 


Ultimately this will tell you what the maximum monthly payment is you can afford for a mortgage, and how much you will be approved for.

A mortgage pre-approval does not definitely mean you get the mortgage, but it is the first step in determining whether you have a good chance of qualifying for a particular amount.

With Wyndham's automated pre-approval letters, you can generate a letter for specific properties you're looking at - while touring the house. 

Get a Real Estate Agent

If you don’t already have a real estate agent in mind, now is the time to look for one. You want to make sure you get an agent that will work for the buyer; they’ll work hard to find houses that meet your criteria, provide negotiation advice, and fill you in on a lot of other important things about the home buying process.

Interested in a modern home buying process? Homescout gives you access to the most accurate MLS home listings, and let you schedule tours directly from your mobile device. Request a realtor, contact the homeowner, or explore deep-data on neighborhoods and surrounding areas - all from your mobile device.

Look for Your Home

Looking for your first home can be fun, but it can also be tedious if you young-couple-or-college-student-using-laptopare having trouble finding what you are looking. If you don’t find something right away, be patient, and maybe consider what features you can compromise on. Make a list of what you definitely want in a home and what you can do without if you have to.

Make an Offer

Once you find a home you like, the next step in the home buying process is to make an offer. Your real estate agent will help you come up with the perfect offer that should appeal to the seller.

Related: 10 Tips for Buying Your First House

Get a Home Inspection

Assuming your offer was accepted, you’ll want to get a home inspection performed next. The home inspector will check out the house and provide you with a detailed report of everything that is of concern. If there are major issues, such as a bad roof, termites, mold, or other things that would cost a lot to repair, you may want to change your mind about the home.

Complete the Mortgage Process

If you are fine with the home inspection, you will probably spend the next couple of weeks finalizing paperwork with the mortgage lender. This can include anything from providing additional financial information to getting an appraisal on the home

Related: How to Get Your Appraisal Waived


The Closing!

The last of the first time home buyer steps to take is to go to the closing. You’ll sign some papers, and at the end, the keys to your brand new home will be handed to you! You are now a homeowner, and you can move in to your first home!

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Interested in completing an entirely-online mortgage process? See how our rates compare, and experience a modern mortgage.

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